public activity

First Urban Planning Conferences of Romanian Mayors, at Carol Foundation, June 1927. C. Sfințescu was one of three specialists to organize and lecture about urban planning
(photography from Monitorul Uniunii Orașelor din România IV, 7-8 (July-August 1927): 2))

The consolidation and configuration of the Romanian urban planning movement into various forms of association and groups of interest, prior to the foundation of the Union of Romanian Towns, is difficult to analyze, and identifying the exact starting point or a certain initiator is risky. Nevertheless, it is a fact that Cincinat Sfinţescu actively participated at the construction and consolidation of this movement by decisively influencing its scientific evolution.
Between 1920 and 1921, Cincinat Sfinţescu wrote a few “mobilizing” articles in the A.G.I.R. Bulletin, drew up a questionnaire on municipal issues for the national administration which he distributed by means of A.G.I.R., and through the mediation of the institution’s secretariat, he structured the Romanian administrative experiences, creating a clear image and a line of dialogue in order to connect them. Of course, Sfinţescu aimed to create a common database with a view to the elaboration of “a lexicon of Greater Romania”. His goal was above all a scientific one.
During the same period, Sfinţescu maintained correspondence with the representatives of the French delegation that visited Bucharest in October 1920, among which was A. Bruggeman, the General Secretary of the Union of French Towns at that time, a future member in the management committee of Union Internationale des Villes and the International Federation of Housing and Town Planning, subsequently one of Sfinţescu’s supporters in his relations with IFHTP and UIV.
During the following years, the national local administrations organized themselves in official structures in order to maintain the dialogue as well as to render urban planning popular for the wide audience. This was the direction adopted by the Union of Romanian Towns (UOR) and The Gazette of the Romanian Union of Towns (MUOR) in their first years of existence.
Cincinat Sfinţescu gradually joined UOR and monopolized the content of the MUOR journal, succeeding in adding a scientific orientation in order to define and confirm urban planning as a science in Romania. This orientation became official since the foundation of the Romanian Urban Planning Institute and the inauguration of Urbanismul journal, an exclusively scientific publication.
Sfinţescu affiliated himself, from an international point of view, with the most powerful and active urban planning professional associations ever since their incipient stages. The only two international associations dealing with the promotion and dissemination of knowledge in relation to the development of modern agglomerations and their management were the above-mentioned Union Internationale des Villes (UIV) and International Federation of Housing and Town Planning (IFHTP). Immediately after their inauguration, the congresses organized under the aegis of these associations became autonomous authorities in matters of scientific urban planning.
Sfinţescu quickly became an agent for the mission of these congresses, embodying the addressed professional profile – the self-taught specialist in high decisional public functions, eager to improve his knowledge and in search of international legitimacy.
Throughout his career, there were two phases of contact with the international world of urban planning. The first one is featured by the win of scholarship for studying public municipal administration in Europe; on this occasion he visited the exhibitions of urban planning (Düsseldorf, Cologne) that set the basis for the specialists’ internationalism, rousing mobility for professional purposes. This type of mobility would subsequently turn into a compulsory condition for the UIV and IFHTP congresses.
The second takes place between1926 and 1939, when he actually enrolled in the great mass of the participants that supported this international turmoil; the climax of this period coincided with the peak of his career in Romania. Placing himself inside the events, Cincinat Sfinţescu was thus a direct witness of the beginning of the evolution of scientific urban planning as a science.
The Union of Romanian Towns (UOR)
  • founded in June 1922 in Cluj at the meeting of the city mayors; the association was initiated by the Mayor of Bucharest, I.C. Costinescu, and the General Secretary Ioan Roban
  • in 1931 it assembled 112 towns (out of the total of 115 towns throughout the country)
  • it organized 12 general assemblies/congresses in 1923-1937, usually  presented in detail in the Monitor of the Union of Romanian Towns (MUOR) and Urbanismul  or in special issues (5 special issues of Urbanismul)
  • the assemblies took place in Timişoara, Cernăuţi, Chişinău, Bucureşti, Oradea, Arad, Iaşi, Brăila
  • C.Sfinţescu delivered general scientific papers within 4 assemblies: Cernăuţi, 1924, Chişinău, 1925, Bucureşti, 1926, Bucureşti, 1931
  • he wrote two articles (totalizing 28 pages) about UOR in the A.G.I.R. Bulletin/1921 and in Urbanismul/1942
  • the Monitor of the Union of Romanian Towns is edited since 1923, 12 issues a year, encompassing approximately 250 pages a year.
  • Sfinţescu published his first article in February 1924 in issue no.2, the first part of a collection of texts sent as a national report on the problem of housing to various organizations related to UOR
 The Society of Romanian Urban Planners – SUR
  • it functioned for a short period of time, between 20th June 1927 and May 1928 and it organized 12 assemblies of the founding members: Arch. R. Bolomey, engineer N.G. Costinescu, engineer Al. Davidescu, Arch. Ion Davidescu, Arch. D. Marcu , engineer T.A. Rădulescu, engineer C. Sfinţescu, engineer M.I. Stroescu
  • its goal corresponded to C. Sfinţescu’s previous aspirations, namely the dissemination of knowledge in urban planning through conferences, lectures, exhibitions and publications, elaborating a compilation of specialized technical documentation, the foundation of a superior school of urban planning studies, periodicals publishing
  • the foundation documents and the shorthand records of the assemblies were published in the 1928 issue of MUOR
  • Sfinţescu did not write about or mention SUR in any of his writings
  • The Romanian Urban Planning Institute (an organization of the Union of Romanian Towns) – IUR
  • founded in January 1931 through the decision of the General Assembly of the Union of Romanian Towns and having almost the same goals as SUR
  • the management committee: Dem. I. Dobrescu, President of the Union of Romanian Towns, Ioan Roban, General Secretary of UOR and Cincinat Sfinţescu, Technical Secretary of UOR
  • in 1932 MUOR became Urbanismul and acquired an exclusively scientific character; there were 6 issues, approximately 300-350 pages a year each
  • the period October-December 1931 marks the start of the Urban Planning Library, comprising the publications sold separately from MUOR/Urbanismul, with C.Sfinţescu’s volume, Street design and construction
  • Sfinţescu wrote an article on IUR in the 1931 issue of MUOR
At the international level 
Union Internationale des Villes (UIV)
  • it was established in 1931 within the first Congres international de l’art de construire les villes et l’organisation de la vie municipale at the International Exhibition in Ghent
  • although it was placed against the background of the previous trend of great international exhibitions, « the first conference including topics on urban planning and public administration » was the first one that gathered participants interested in relating the issue of urban planning to public administration, being supported especially by the diplomatic efforts from the part of Emile Vink, the founder of Union des Villes and Communes Belges.
  • representatives from 28 countries, 162 towns and 50 administrations decided the foundation of UIV and the election of E.Vink as president
  •  in 1923 a common series of UIV and IFHTP congresses was launched
  • UIV organized (at least) 10 congresses: Amsterdam (1924), Paris (1925), Seville (1929), (the conference at Liege-Anvers in 1930), London (1932), Vienna (1933), Lyon (1934), Paris (1937)
  • Romania was represented at 3 congresses: 1924, 1925 and 1934 (in 1925 UOR joined UIV at Paris)
  • notes and detailed information, usually reported by I.Roban, on all the UIV congresses appeared on a regular basis in MUOR and Urbanismul
  • the main themes discussed within the UIV congresses were: municipal autonomy in different countries, rural land policy and its influence on the issue of housing, the systematization of the educational subjects relating to the municipal domain and the elaboration of a community science, public sanitation, waste collection and management
  • C.Sfinţescu participated in the Congresses at Paris in 1924 and Lyon in 1934, and sent two national reports for each debate section
  • he wrote one article on UIV in the A.G.I.R. Bulletin  in 1921 and 3 accounts and notes on the UIV congresses in MUOR and Urbanismul
The International Federation for Housing and Town Planning (IFHTP)
  • it emerged out of a shift of interest of the British Garden Cities Association, founded by E.Howard – firstly, it gained the right to use the term “town planning” in its title in 1909, and subsequently became an international federation in 1913
  • the federation acquired its final structure in 1926, the year of C. Sfinţescu’s adhesion, when its aim focused on “globally promoting and coordinating the study and practice of housing design, planning as well as regional, urban and rural development in order to provide high living standards, the improvement of the towns and a good distribution of the population”
  • it soon became the most important inter-war platform of internationalizing the profession of urban planner
  • the congresses organized by IFHTP ( the initial structures of the federation): Paris (1922), Göteborg (1923), Amsterdam (1924), New York (1925)
  • the IFHTP congresses: Vienna (1926), Paris (1928), Rome (1929), Berlin (1931), London (1935), Paris (1937), Mexico (1938), Stockholm (1939)
  • overall, 17 congresses were held between 1922 and 1939
  • C. Sfinţescu had the first direct contact with IFHTP in 1926 in Vienna when he became an elected member  by the General Assemblies of the Federation Council, following H. Sellier’s and A. Bruggeman’s proposal (the Mayor of Bucharest, I. Costinescu, was elected vice-president of the IFHTP)
  • in 1931 in Berlin C. Sfinţescu became the elected vice-president of the federation (this was actually an honorary distinction bearing no decisional role within the federation of the congresses)
  • he took part in 5 congresses: Vienna (1926), Paris (1928), Rome (1929), Berlin (1931), Stockholm (1939)
  • he published 14 articles (110 pages) in 11 issues of MUOR and Urbanismul -  accounts and national reports from all the congresses, he wrote about 7 congresses (1925, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1938, 1939)
  • he also published 2 separate volumes on the congresses held in Rome (1929) and Berlin (1931)
  • he drew up and sent 10 national reports on such themes as: the issue of housing, the expansion of old and historical towns, the issue of traffic and the concept of super-urbanism, for the congresses held in Paris, Rome, Berlin and Stockholm
  • C. Sfinţescu’s  works, Applying the technique of super-urbanism and Studies on the Master Plan for Greater Bucharest  were displayed at the International Urban Planning Exhibition in Berlin, being “the first time when Romania was present at such an event”
  • he constantly published reviews of the publications issued by UIV and IFHTP – La Vie Urbaine, Tablettes Documentaires Municipales, Bulletin of Town Planning Federation – in A.G.I.R. Bulletin, MUOR and Urbanismul, important reference sources for his studies and scientific articles throughout his activity
Other participations
The Polytechnic Society (SP)
  • C. Sfinţescu became a member of the Polytechnic Society in June 1911
  • he consistently and constantly contributed articles, reports and notes to the Bulletin of the Polytechnic Society (BSP) ever since 1911; it was an intense activity especially during the first part of his life, before the inauguration of MUOR
  • in BSP he published his first main studies English Garden Cities, The plot and the block…, Housing in Greater Romania and, above all, one of its two major works – On Bucharest. New Studies in Urban Planning
  • he was a constant author and collaborator of the journal between 1911 and 1929, contributing studies, notes, information; afterwards, he only published several studies until 1942
  • several of Sfinţescu’s writings, totalizing (a minimum of) 21 articles, 18 notes, reviews, information, 4 volumes (overall, around 450 pages) appeared in BSP
  • although he did not take action within SP, Sfinţescu greatly valued each participation at the meetings it organized within the society
  • he took part in (at least) 3 congresses: 1931, 1935, 1937
  • he delivered 3 extremely important scientific papers for Romanian urban planning, the history of Bucharest and Romanian urban planning and highly valuable urban planning theories, some of his most relevant texts: On urban planning in general and Romania in particular, 1931 (published in the Bulletin of the Polytechnic Society), Bucharest in the light of the urban planning science, 1935 (published in Urbanismul/1938) and Urban planning  and national defense, 1937 (published in Urbanismul/1937)
The General Association of the Romanian Engineers (AGIR)
  • C. Sfinţescu became a member of A.G.I.R. in August 1920, ever since its foundation
  • in 1922 he was elected as a member in the Administrative Council, as a cashier and secretary for the issue of Public Works; he was also involved in the organization of the Library and the Reading Room, member in the working committee for the organization of the first three congresses in Iaşi (1921), Timişoara (1922) and Bucharest (1923)
  • in October 1923 he resigned from all the positions at A.G.I.R. in order to devote himself solely to the activity within UOR and MUOR 
  • he participated at four A.G.I.R. congresses held in Iaşi (1921), Timişoara (1922), Chişinău (in 1925, alongside the UOR congress), Galaţi (1934) delivering 8 scientific papers subsequently published in the A.G.I.R Bulletin and in the collective volumes of the congresses
  • he always presented very important studies and projects for his career: studies on the towns from the regions of newly-founded Greater Romania (Bessarabia, Transylvania, Bukovina), the industrialization of towns, the project concerning the railway crossing along Dâmboviţa
The urban planning conferences of the Romanian mayors, held in June 1927, initiated by the Superior Technical Council and organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Polytechnic School in Bucharest, represented a highly important event in C. Sfinţescu’s career, influencing his approach and working method as we can easily notice from the Bazargic master plan and from the studies for the new Bucharest master plan.
C. Sfinţescu, Al. Davidescu and D. Marcu elaborated the conference programme and delivered scientific papers containing practical recommendations for the design of the general urban plans.
Other conferences:
The Romanian Social Institute (1921, 1929)
The Society of Romanian Architects (1930, 1931)
The Cultural Centre of the civil servants within the Municipality of Bucharest (1928)
The Cadastral Congress of the General Association of Romanian Topometry Engineers (1929)
The Bucharest Urban Planning Association, founded by the former Mayor Dem I. Dobrescu (1935)

All the scientific papers (according to the information collected from his articles):
The issue of housing in Greater Romania, H.Sellier “La crise du logement…”, 1921
Needs and possibilities in the building industry in Bucharest, the Romanian Social Institute, 1921
The towns of Bessarabia, A.G.I.R. Iaşi, 1921
Communal administration and the industrialization of towns, A.G.I.R. Iaşi, 1921
The method of action in matters of public works within the current phase of state organization, A.G.I.R. Iaşi, 1921
The water network of Greater Romania and the promulgation of its system, A.G.I.R., Iaşi, 1921
The towns of Transylvania and Bukovina from a municipal administrative perspective, A.G.I.R., Timişoara, 1922
The building work in our towns in recent years, Tablettes Documentaires Municipales, 1924
The master plans and the construction regulations in relation to town development, UOR Cernăuţi, 1924
Town planning in Romania, UIV Paris, 1925
Legal and practical difficulties regarding regional planning or urban planning. Housing mass and density in relation to the empty spaces and means of transport, UIV Paris, 1925
With regard to the railway crossing along Dâmboviţa River, A.G.I.R. Chişinău, 1925
On founding a consulting technical department within the Central Office of the Union for projects and studies for urban public works, planning,  allotment, as well as a documentation department, UOR Bucharest, 1926
Town planning within the current structure. Practical directives concerning design, the Urban Planning Conferences of the Romanian mayors, Bucharest, 1927
The issue of housing in Romania, IFHTP Paris, 1928
Rural land policy and its influence on the issue of housing, IFHTP Paris, 1925
Town planning in Romania, IFHTP Paris, 1928
Large urban agglomerations. The juridical and administrative issues resulting from the expansion of the neighbouring villages and their annexation to the large urban centers, IFHTP Paris, 1925
Activity management within the public services, the Cultural Centre of the civil servants within the Municipality of Bucharest, 1928
Planning methods for the expansion of old and historical towns, IFHTP Rome, 1929
Refitting old historical towns in order to meet modern conditions, IFHTP Rome, 1929
The cadastral survey, a means to national urban development, the Cadastral Congress, 1929
Ideas on urban planning and architecture within the international framework, the Society of Romanian Architects, 1930
The abolition of extreme poverty housing in Romania, IFHTP Berlin, 1931
The issue of traffic in relation to urban and regional planning in Romania, IFHTP Berlin, 1931
The role of the architect in the development of the Bucharest suburbs, The Society of Romanian Architects, 1931
Necessary improvements of the Bucharest suburbs (in relation to municipal finances), UOR Bucharest, 1931
On urban planning in general and Romania in particular, The Polytechnic Society, 1931
Practical procedures regarding town planning and the Civil Code and the easements requested by modern urban planning, A.G.I.R. Galaţi, 1934
The characteristics of Soviet urban planning, the Bucharest Urban Planning Association, 1935
Bucharest in the light of urban planning as a science, the Polytechnic Society, 1935
The issue of local traffic, IFHTP Stockholm, 1939